Sex and the Single Bed
Unless you have mad cash, chances are that youâ€™re living in a pretty small space, maybe even one room, and getting on each otherâ€™s nerves. Take my marriage. We shared a duplex with a lease in my name. The bedroom was up top and overlooked the living room. That meant no privacy. Aside from my ex-husbandâ€™s violent temper, lack of motivation and pot-smoking, the fact that we were constantly in each otherâ€™s way drove us both mad.
One night we took hammers to each otherâ€™s computers. When I hacked through his vintage Marantz stereo, we both knew the end was near at the first sound of cracking glass. When my husband left me suddenly, I came home to an empty house that I could ill afford, but took some comfort in the fact that William, now single, had a paltry income and horrible credit.
But there are always two sides to every story, and to be fair, letâ€™s hear straight from the doucheâ€™s mouth:
â€œAfter living with my wife, Kelly, for seven months, I knew it wouldnâ€™t last. I had to go. Still, I was basically making about half of what she did, so my options were few and far between. The first time I moved out was to a small sublet on the Upper East Sideâ€”a one room studio in a five-story building. I was only there for two months at most, so I never quite settled in. I somehow got talked into moving back with my wife, against my better judgment. I guess I was still weak; she does have the most amazing blue eyes and is smarter than anyone I know. Speaking of â€˜weakâ€™â€”it lasted a little more than a week the second time.
â€œThis time I packed up what was now all of my lifelong possessionsâ€”almost everything in the apartment belonged to herâ€”what basically amounted to a cargo van-full, and hauled ass to suburban Long Island to mooch off my relatives. Maybe the 35 miles rather than the 35 blocks would be a deterrent for my smooth-talking wife. After a few nights staying with a family member, the long trek to Manhattanâ€™s far west side of Chelsea everyday was tedious at best. I had decided it was far more suitable to live with the rats in the shabby-chic gallery district, than commute with the rats from suburban sprawl every day.â€
William worked in a video equipment rental house/post production facility and managed to talk one of the owners into letting him work â€œsomeâ€ late nights if he could crash on the futon in the lounge instead of trekking two hours each way.
William, again: â€œOne would think that having 3000 square feet of space to myself in a trendy part of the city might be something to feel good aboutâ€”there was a full kitchen, big screen TVâ€™s, all kinds of electronic toys, high speed Internet. But no shower.â€
See? Just like my ex. Always looking for a short-cut. Never willing to just work hard. This was the fundamental problem with our relationship. I am a Type-A personality. I am always working, planning, making lists, organizing and creating.
William, on the other hand, is content to lay on the couch and get high, and then berate me for my small successes and bank account. When I met him he was $20,000 in debt. I helped him clear that up and wouldnâ€™t agree to marry him until he got a permanent job with benefits. He did, but it didnâ€™t last long.
More William: â€Day three of my new adventure, I found the Chelsea recreation center on West 25th Street for just $75 a year. You might consider it a half-notch up the buff, gym rat, gay manâ€™s totem pole than the Y, but hey, I was looking for a shower, not someone to â€œspotâ€ me. So here I was, going about my business, sleeping on a futon in my sprawling office, sleeping as late as possible, showering a few blocks away and paying no rent. Woo hoo, how did I manage to pull this off?â€
Instead of using the money William saved on rent to get a stable place to live, he found a summer share house on Ocean Beach, Fire Island. Every other weekend at the beach, alternating with weekends visiting his aging grandparents who needed the help, made for an almost tolerable â€œliving at workâ€ arrangement
But then cameâ€¦â€œThat fateful Friday night. I was not going to Fire Island that weekend, nor to visit family. Some friends were going out, and I was to meet them at around 10 p.m.. I had never tried to shower at the rec center other than mornings before people started filtering into my job; this time it was about 7p.m. I threw a towel, some clean clothes and soap into my bag and started the three block hike. I was very surprised when the doors were locked. For the LOVE of God, man, it was Juneâ€”still light, the city alive and bustling, and I was hot, sweaty and without a shower and had plans to go out. Panic nearly struck in.â€
So what did my silly ex do? He hustled back to the office, wracking his fool brain trying to figure out where he could get some hot streaming water. Heâ€™d have to skip the shower, or do his best to impersonate a finch in a bird bath; substitute him for the finch, and the corporate washroom for the birdbath.
â€œThen a stroke of genius! I saw the empty Poland spring bottle in the storage room. You know the oneâ€”the five gallon variety that always spills water on the wall when Dennis from accounting tries to replace the empty one. I filled it three-fourths full with warm water from the menâ€™s room, grabbed my towel, my washcloth, my soap and shampoo and dragged it all onto the third floor fire escape, that luckily hovered over the alleyway at the back of the building. It was equal parts sad, disgusting and yet almost zen-like. It worked out though; I think I only repeated my bizzaro NYC outdoor shower ritual only once more.
â€œThere is something odd about living and working in the same place, I would think people who work from home would totally relate. Something about going to sleep and waking up and not ever having the feeling of leaving work. I like and even needed the delineation of the twoâ€”a buffer. I was now without my buffer. Still, it was nice to always be the first one in the office. Though I dreaded the morning when the alarm didnâ€™t go off, and waking up to the sound of my bossâ€™s key in the door. Not exactly the way up the corporate ladder in most circles.â€
William got canned that November, oddly, not for living in his office, but because of leaving his heart elsewhere.
But that is all behind us now. I have a rent stabilized junior four that I share with my dachshund, Mini. After getting unceremoniously canned, William, aged 38, moved to San Diego to live with his mother. A year later, he moved in with an Asian woman with a lazy eye who owns a million-dollar home where he lives basically rent free. She is a bit of a Jesus freak, but banging her for free board is an even deal.